A study by Tel Aviv University in Israel found that kids treated with growth hormones could have an increased eye pressure. Increased eye pressure has been associated with glaucoma, a disease which may lead to blindness. Hormone jabs are usually administered to treat conditions that inhibit growth, from deficiency of hormone to genetic diseases like Turner and Prader-Willi syndromes.
Glaucoma is a cluster of conditions which damage the optic nerve, usually caused because of a buildup of pressure in the eye. Therefore the researchers wanted to verify whether growth hormone treatment might be linked to changes in eye pressure. A team led by Dr Ilan Youngster examined fifty-five children who had been receiving growth hormone treatment for more than thirty months.
These children were compared with another twenty-four children with analogous conditions who did not get any type of treatment. The kids who were getting hormone treatment were around eleven years of age and were getting daily shots of growth hormone within the standard limit, but, that was fifty percent higher than the dose used to replace the hormone in deficient children.
Researchers found that eye pressure in the treated kids was about sixteen mm Hg, compared to thirteen mm Hg in the untreated group. Similarly higher doses of growth hormone and longer treatment periods were tied to greater eye pressure. When, researchers tested out their findings against children of similar age in the general population, they found that kids’ getting hormone therapy had higher eye pressure.
The Glaucoma Research Foundation, a non-profit research organization, stated eye pressure in the range from twelve to twenty-two mm Hg is considered normal. This is a very preliminary study which only tells this is something they should look into, stated Dr Youngster. The study findings were published in The Journal of Pediatrics.
Earlier studies have also found side effects in fewer than five percent of children treated with growth hormone, including headache, nausea and joint inflammation.